Graham Iain Hunt Crowley was born in Guildford Sussey on 2nd September 1946, so he was almost a war baby! Graham was the son of the late John Hunt-Crowley, a well known Fleet Street journalist, and Gladys Ellen Hunt-Crowley. He is survived by his only sibling, his Stephanie, who has lived in Washington DC USA for many years. Stephanie sadly cannot make the journey, but has been kept well informed of all the preparations made for her brother.
Graham spent his early childhood in the village of Rusper, near Horsham, Sussex, which is on the South Coast of England.
He was about 10 years old when they moved to the village of Dadford, near Buckingham, which is a bit further north. At the age of 17, at the height of the East/West Cold War with the Russians, he joined the Royal Observer Corps (a civilian part of the Royal Air force, whose task it was to monitor any nuclear fallout in the event of a nuclear bomb attack) and was with them for several years.
Graham Hunt-Crowley 2 September 1946 – 2 May 2104
After their father died, their mother sold the house in Dadford and they moved to Wardington, just north of Banbury, near Oxford. And it is there that Graham made some excellent long term friendships, 3 of whom, John Harraway, Ben McCabe and David Johnson, were present at the funeral.
It was after the Royal Observer Corps days that he started work at his first job, which was one that was to last for about 25 years. He had joined Post Office telephones which became British Telecom. He worked in Oxford and became assistant to the man who dealt with USAF Upper Heyford and was responsible for providing communication lines to the fighter jets waiting on the runway as they did at that time of the Cold War.
His boss died suddenly and they needed someone to take over. Not only was Graham already trained in telecommunications, but thanks to his involvement with Royal Observer Corps, he already had the necessary government security clearance to work on secret equipment. He made good friends with some of the American servicemen and visited some of them in the US in the mid 1970s – and travelled from one side of the US to the other using an unlimited mileage Greyhound bus pass visiting many of his friends – and his sister in Washington.
While living in Oxford he started working evenings behind the bar at different pubs in Oxford – and he told his sister why: “I figured that if I was going to be down at the pub anyway, I might as well be behind the bar and get paid for it, and not stand in front of it and have to be paying.”
Another thing Graham did while in Oxford – he started a Singles Club, called Trumps. It started out with weekly get-togethers at a pub, but it grew not just in the number of members but in activities. They had dinners, movie nights, picnics, walks along the river, in fact it grew to the point that there was something going on about every day or night of the year!
He also signed on as an “extra” for movies that were being shot in Oxford – one of them being The Saint movie starring Val Kilmer, and another where he played a walk on part in a 17th century movie, wearing thick white wig, frock coat and gaiters.
He did a lot of World travelling in those years before he actually visited Thailand. After taking early retirement from BT, he taught computer classes at a community college and also drove a mini bus for a friend who ran a travel agency – mostly doing wine runs to France. That was when he had a bar in his house in Marston almost as well stocked as a pub.
His first trip to Thailand was on the way home from visiting friends in Sri Lanka in 2003, but the next trip was scheduled to be right after the Tamil Tigers blew up the Holiday Inn, so he gave up thinking of Sri Lanka and made Thailand his final longtime destination and home. It was here that he first became involved with Rotary.